Cinco de Mayo costumes are bright, colorful, and unique to the Mexican culture. These outstanding costumes are particularly recognizable from the baile folklorico (traditional dancing) and mariachi bands, and while there is no single type of traditional Cinco de Mayo costume per se, the majority of women wear a colorful gown or skirt and the men wear trousers or black pants suits, along with sombreros. Attending Cinco de Mayo dances and watching performers and musicians in their vibrant clothes, as well as ribbons and makeup for the women, only adds to the fun. Women, men, and children of all ages participate in these Cinco de Mayo festivities in the US and Mexico, which are mostly in the state of Puebla, and they provide a great show for visitors and native Mexicans alike.
Although the majority of men and women don the dresses and pant suits, there is a variety of Cinco de Mayo costumes that make an appearance each year. Women who choose to wear a long, flowing skirt tend to top it off with a crisp, white blouse with loose shoulders and traditional Mexican sandals. The two varieties of skirts that are most popular during the holiday are pico skirts, which are very swirly and of lighter fabric, and the puebla dress. Puebla dresses are full-length peasant dresses with short sleeves, and they’re typically decorated with colorful embroidery, such as flowers, animals, and traditional Mexican symbols. They’re traditionally white, but puebla dresses can come in bright colors as well.
The vast majority of men celebrating and participating in the dances on Cinco de Mayo tend to wear the standard trouser and shirt look but top it off with a large sombrero or colorful serape, giving the look a Mexican feel. The holiday is a time to embrace Mexican culture and everyone seems to take Cinco de Mayo clothing seriously—the more colorful, the better!
Those taking part in the Cinco de Mayo reenactments don a very different costume. The traditional Cinco de Mayo costume for these folks is a soldiers uniform. Those participating in the reenactment of the Battle of Puebla, which is the basis of the holiday, choose to either represent a Mexican or French solider and sport the traditional uniforms that these armies wore in the 1860s. Although the uniforms tend to be more popular in Mexico, they have been making an appearance at numerous celebrations across the United States. Also popular in the United States is dressing up as a mariachi musician. Although not a traditional Cinco de Mayo costume, most people tend to associate mariachi with Mexico and decide to sport the black trousers, white shirt, colorful vest and sombrero.
If you don’t feel like going the traditional root for your Cinco de Mayo celebration, there are various third party websites and costume stores out there that offer a range of Cinco de Mayo costumes. Men can purchase a traditional looking suit complete with stuffed donkey, a sombrero and a colorful serape. If you feel like disguising yourself, the Zorro costume is also very popular amongst younger men. Women can find sexy off the shoulder dresses complete with bottle holders and a tequila print sombrero. These costumes are great for your non-traditional Cinco de Mayo party but if you venture to Mexico to celebrate, it’s better to stick to the more traditionally conservative Mexican clothing.